From its inception, the Ima Hogg Endowment, created by Miss Ima Hogg, has funded mental health services for children, youth and their families in Houston/Harris County, Texas. For more than 30 years, the fund has supported prevention, early intervention and services for children, youth and their families in a variety of settings.

Today, the foundation is interested in identifying and addressing the needs of transition-age youth and families (TAYF). This vulnerable population, an estimated three million young adults, who live with serious mental health conditions, are at greater risk for involvement in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. TAYF with mental health conditions experience the unique and compounding challenges of aging out of one system and transitioning into a new adult system that may not be prepared to meet their developmental needs. The foundation believes that by providing opportunities for TAYF to have a voice as equal partners during program planning, the results will yield a more comprehensive and relevant array of services and supports.

To achieve this end, the foundation has launched a pair of new grant programs focusing on the needs of TAYF. First, TAYF Planning Grants of up to $25,000 have been awarded to eight organizations to plan services and supports with transition-age youth and their families in the Houston/Harris County area. The goal of this grant is for participants to acquire the skills to actively partner with TAYF and community stakeholders. Grantees will use their acquired skills to develop service implementation plans reflective of collaboration and best practices for working with TAYF, including the ongoing involvement of TAYF in the service implementation phase. Plans developed through the planning phase will also be reviewed by the foundation for possible funding of a four-year grant program for service implementation. The recipients of the TAYF Planning Grants will soon be announced.

Second, one Coordinator Grant of $175,824 has been awarded to Texas Network of Youth Services  to coordinate a strategic learning process for planning grantees to understand best practices for working with TAYF in Houston/Harris County. The intertwining of the two grant programs allows for the Coordinator grantee to work and support the Planning grantees in coordinating a planning process as they develop TAYF-guided plans for services and supports. This is a one-year grant with the potential for the coordinator to continue with a multi-year grant to coordinate activities during the four-year service implementation phase.

At a moment when the nation as a whole is trying to better address the mental health needs of young people, the Hogg Foundation’s TAYF Grant Initiative builds on the strengths, hopes and dreams of young people, actively involving the youth and their families in developing an individualized plan for their future independence and success.